J/109 E-News

June 2009

In This Issue
STORM takes Block Island
Sail Inventory Discussion
109's Dominate NYYC Regatta
Upcoming Regattas
Cowes Week
North Americans
Welcome Summer
CNC headshotRacing is in full swing on both sides of the pond, and J/109 sailors are showing that nothing will stand between them and a good regatta.  Reports below, as well as some food for thought on sail inventory.  Enjoy! -Carol Cronin
A STORM-y Block Island Race Week
Storm Trysail Flag Thirteen boats competed in a variety of spring/summer conditions at the 2009 East Coast Championships, held during the Storm Trysail Club's biennial Block Island Race Week.  With a deep fleet and a wide variety of conditions, winning skipper Rick Lyall was very pleased with the event.   "We always like to have our championship at an event like this: where it's high profile, we know the committee work, and there are good conditions.  Block Island is as good as it gets, and the fleet is so close in capabilities."

A combination of around the island and around the buoys racing provided variety as well, and it wasn't until day 2 that Lyall's STORM posted a 3-1-5  to take the lead. In his second race, he had a "perfect start, literally at the line" and was first to the windward mark.  But he was still looking over his shoulder.  STORM finished second in the last two Block Island Race Weeks. "Being bridesmaids twice, we're trying to get rid of the curse," he added.

After two more days and three more races, STORM held on for the overall victory.  The key, according to Lyall, was sailing "clean and competitively"- and winning the last race in 18-19 knots of breeze. "It was very exciting," he said. "The boat was prepared and performing tremendously; we were spot on with our navigation and tactics, and we're just thrilled with the victory."

1. Storm, USA146, Rick Lyall  17.3
2. Caminos, USA52202, Donald Filippelli  27
3. Gut Feeling, USA72, Ted Herlihy  38
4. Rush, USA51, Bill Sweetser  39
5. Gossip, USA274, Group W  40
6. Skoot, USA55, Jim Vos  49
7. Picante, USA126, Robert Salk  49
8. Instant Karma, USA243, David Betts  58
9. Relentless, USA162, Al Minella  62
10. Mischief, USA200, Mike Brown  77
11. Shearwater, USA256, Hugh McLean  82
12. Nordlys, USA267, Bob Schwartz  95
13. Jibber Jabber, USA272, David Jannetti  108

Tim Wilkes took lots of great photos during the week.   Unfortunately we didn't receive the okay to reprint any here before press time, so you'll have to visit his site:  www.timwilkes.com
Sail Inventory Discussion
Doyle Sail Design diagram President Rick Lyall explains the history behind the current sail inventory rules and asks for your feedback.  Image from Doyle Sailmakers

Fellow J/109 owners:
At last week's Block Island Race Week we included an "amendment" that allowed owners to change jibs and spinnakers at will during the day.  We viewed this as an experiment and would like to hear your reactions now that the regatta has concluded.
The issue of sail inventory and flexibility has been around since I began racing my boat in 2004.  As I recall, we only had one regatta with "class sails" that year, the 2004 East Coast Championship.  Most owners did not have a "class jib or spinnaker" and had to purchase them.  At Block Island Race Week in 2005 we had a meeting of the 19 owners in attendance.  I was very much in favor of a larger, more flexible inventory that allowed us to adapt to the conditions.  I was voted down 18-1 on the subject as all the other owners wanted a very simple one design inventory that made the boat affordable and easy to sail. In retrospect, that was probably a very important factor in helping to build the class.  Owners were attracted to the boat because it could be cruised or raced and it had a simple racing inventory that seemed to ensure good one design competition.
 We drafted the class rules in 2005-2006 with input from all of the US fleet captains and from Jeff and Rod Johnstone.  The focus at the time was on keeping the J/109 class "one design."  We did not want owners to be able to use specialty sails because it would likely result in an "arms race" where owners with the biggest checkbooks would win.  That was the rationale for limiting the sail inventories for a day and a regatta. 
Last year, after the "windy" J/109 NA's we received feedback from owners who had kept their "new" inventories up during the two heavy air days (>30kts) as they wanted to remain... more
109's Dominate NYYC Annual Regatta
NYYC logoThe three day 2009 New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta attracted 105 boats, the most in a non-Bermuda Race year.  It also served up weather challenges that, while perhaps disappointing to beach-goers, delighted the 1000 plus sailors competing on Rhode Island Sound over three days. Racing in the fifteen-boat IRC 5 against Express 37's, an Evelyn 32, and several other boats, Bill Sweetser on RUSH, Ted Herlihy on GUT FEELING, and Rick Lyall on STORM won the top three spots.

1, Rush, William Sweetser, Annapolis, MD, 10
2. Gut Feeling, Ted Herlihy, S. Dartmouth, MA, 11
3. Storm, Rick Lyall, Wilton, Conn., 14

Complete Results
R E G A T T A  2009
Volvo Banner Only 10 days to go until the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta begins in Dublin, Ireland.  15 J/109's are registered. The regatta will play host to many of Europe's finest sailors and promises to be a great event on and off the water.

Our four waterfront yacht clubs are looking forward to welcoming you, your crew & family. Each club will be putting on fabulous entertainment and social activities for all sailors and non sailors.

On the public entertainment side the town will be awash with activities ranging from Rowing Regattas, Vintage Car Rally's to Jazz Bands and marching Pipe Bands.

Each Club's social programme will be published in the coming months along with the town's public programme of activities.  Join us!
This enewsletter was edited and produced for the J/109 Class Association by
Carol Newman Cronin of Live Wire.